Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Are You A User Or A Program?


The question arises from a simple idea. Do you feel like less of a woodworker if you follow a set of plans?

Or more accurately, do you feel like awkward when building a project that you didn't design? I used to, until I started developing plans for others to follow. That changed how I view plans. When I follow a plan, I immediately feel like a neophyte. And it's not because the project is necessarily complex, but rather I seem to slip into the mode of program versus user. I assume everything has been figured out for me, and all I need to do is the bidding of Master Control. We all need a Dumont to help us gain access to Master Control and break free of the bond that plans and cutlists can impose on us. 

Here's what I do when I follow a plan. Before I cut wood, before I even order wood, I study the plan, nearly memorize the plan to the point that I know and understand every aspect of the project. Doing this, I make the plan my own project. It becomes my design, in effect. Nobody is holding my hand or a conductor's wand. I am in charge. I am the conductor. It's not a fun process though. It takes discipline. But so does developing your own idea. The beauty of following a plan is that you can be assured (if you trust the source) that many of the mistakes have already been worked out. 

The plans we're developing for the Classic Workbench will reflect this philosophy. There will of course be schematics of the bench, like our Split Top Roubo, but there will also be succinct construction notes that will tell you the why of the design, not just the how. We want this design to become your's. 

Some may question why we're releasing a bench design that doesn't include more of our products (like a wagon vise) and will cost about half of what it costs to build a Split Top Roubo. It's a valid question. And here's the answer. We're in this for the craft first. And we think if you're just getting into the craft, you should have the option to build a sweet bench with Benchcrafted functionality without emptying your wallet. This is that bench. If you've got the means, go all the way with our Glide and Tail Vise packages. But if you're just dipping your toes in, and you want to sample the wares without that little nagging in the back of your mind, the Classic is the bench to build. 





11 comments:

  1. I really like the approach you are taking with this bench! Looking forward to the release of the plans.

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  2. This is pretty much the exact bench I built back in August with your classic leg vise, minus the crisscross. It's a great no frills bench, and easy enough for a newer woodworker like myself.

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  3. Hi Jameel,
    I notice what appears to be a metal planing stop, guessing it is toothed, in the cross section view, new product offering?

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    1. Good eye. It is indeed a toothed planing stop, currently under production.

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  4. Thank you for your support of the craft !!!!

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  5. fantastic post Jameel - a great description of an issue that is hard to articulate. One other method is to redraw the plans (by hand), but leave out the measurements and figure them out on your own. Once you have figured the dimensions, you can cross check them against the original plans. I have found the dimensioning aspect of plans is what really helps me get my head into the project.... other than that time I oriented the dovetails wrong on my bench with the wagon vise... still shaking my head over that one! :)

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  7. Good post. An interrrdribg and meaningful distinction. I haven't seen this many Tron references since 1982.
    Now if you'll excuse me, in going to go for a ride on my light cycle before master control puts me on Honey-do duty.

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  8. Have you determined a release date?

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    1. Not yet. Yesterday we sat down with our draftsman Louis Bois to lay out a plan for how we want these to look. They will be different in style than our Split Top Roubo, and will echo the more essential character of this bench.

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  9. Do I see some influence from the La Forge Royale bench?

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